The regulation of product safety, and weights and measures, is based on EU law. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings this EU law into UK statute, so that it will continue to have effect after the end of the transition period. Amendments since have made to enable this framework to operate smoothly in the UK, and added provisions such as a UK conformity mark. This article looks at a further statutory instrument that amends retained EU law in the area, particularly in light of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The regulation of organic products, and of genetically modified organisms, is based on EU law. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings this EU law into UK statute, so that it will continue to have effect after the end of the transition period. Amendments since have ensured that the retained law refers to the UK system, not the EU. However, under the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland will remain subject to the EU’s laws. This article looks at two statutory instruments that further amend the 2019 regulations so that they refer only to Great Britain, enabling Northern Ireland to continue to meet EU law.

  • In Focus

    The draft Flags (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 would make changes to regulations governing the flying of flags on government buildings in Northern Ireland. They would remove one building from the list of sites where the Union flag must be flown and add two others. They would also add the birthdays of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and of the Duchess of Cornwall, to the dates on which the Union flag must be flown.

  • In Focus

    Since 2009 the UK bank base rate has been below 1%, and it was cut to 0.1% in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With the economy remaining weak, commentators have debated whether there should be further cuts, taking the interest rate negative for the first time. This article summarises the policy debate.

  • In Focus

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has introduced requirements to wear face coverings in specified locations. These have been updated several times, to broaden the scope of the rules and to increase the financial penalties for non-compliance. This article looks at the requirements imposed by three instruments that came into force on 23 and 24 September 2020 and are being debated in the House of Lords on 12 October 2020.

  • In Focus

    The Government has relaxed many of the national coronavirus lockdown restrictions since the height of the pandemic. Instead, it has sought to control outbreaks in specific areas with ‘local lockdowns’. This article examines the legislative framework around local lockdowns and the parliamentary scrutiny they have undergone.

  • In Focus

    The coronavirus lockdown was introduced to reduce the spread of the disease. However, it also gave rise to substantial costs, both to the economy and in areas such as health, education, domestic violence and inequality. This article considers one analysis of these costs and how they compare to the benefits of the lockdown. This is the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 28 July 2020.

  • In Focus

    The next UK-wide census was due to take place in March 2021. However, the Scottish Government has recently announced that the census in Scotland will be delayed until 2022. This article, marking the centenary of the Census Act 1920, considers the implications of the Scottish announcement and also other policy developments relating to the forthcoming census.

  • In Focus

    A range of data is available to measure child poverty. This article looks at official statistics on children in low income households with someone in work. It then considers Government policy in the area, and also discusses the possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Child poverty in working households is the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 15 July 2020.

  • In Focus

    Aviation has been one of the hardest hit sectors in the coronavirus pandemic. This article looks at Government support for airlines and also at criticisms of policies such as the quarantine. It then considers debates about airlines’ reactions in areas such as employment and customer refunds. The impact of the pandemic on airlines is the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 29 June 2020.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    This article summarises a selection of commentaries on monetary financing, which is the central bank creating money on which interest is not paid. It sets out the pros and cons of the monetary financing approach, and discusses proposals for mitigating some of the risks involved. It also considers arguments that the Bank of England’s existing policy of quantitative easing (QE) is a form of monetary financing.